The Original Nazi Human Swastika

This photo, from 1933, presumably shows a German military unit posed in the form of the Nazi swastika. 1933 was the year that Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, the Reichstag was burned, and Hitler’s rise to complete control of Germany was solidified, so perhaps the soldiers were celebrating one or more of those events with the human swastika.

The human swastika has been with us a long time, going farther back than Hitler’s Third Reich. Sometimes it is formed by hundreds of men, as seen above, and sometimes it is done by just one man in a surprising twist of the human body. The swastika’s use for evil is well known, but the fact that humanity has often formulated this symbol with its own bodies and limbs is often overlooked.

This blog will track the history and usage of the human swastika–from a few pre-German artifacts through the Third Reich and forward to today’s reality television–if you look hard enough you’ll see human swastikas everywhere.

It’s a troubling, troubling world.


3 Responses to “The Original Nazi Human Swastika”

  1. What symbols have had their original meaning or significance distorted when co-opted by other groups?…

    So many! But perhaps it is the natural evolution of visual representation. Here are a bunch: * The fleur-de-lis is everywhere. It was originally associated with French royalty, and remains an emblem in the French-settled Americas. It was on the classic…

  2. wow this was so interesting to use as my assessment.

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